Back in the day this site hosted Claude Sainlouis, a bistro that was legendary in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 1960s. Now run by the media-savvy Cyril Lignac, the address at 27 Rue de Dragon has changed its name, but without losing its well-known flowered wallpaper.
Le Chardenoux des Prés, the younger sibling of the right bank’s Le Chardenoux, has kept its old-style charm. It has the air of a grandmother’s dining room, with old presidential photographs, a marble counter and Berkel meat slicer. But if the ambiance hasn’t changed, the cooking has developed nicely.
Comfortably settled into cognac-coloured banquettes, we hesitated between splashing out on starter or dessert – fried squid with espelette pepper or run baba? A fricassee of girolles mushrooms or fresh figs with vanilla crème glacée? Our main was easier – a small casserole of cockles made unctuous with fine slivers of apple. All of which is to say that Les Chardenoux des Prés offers bistro cooking of rare delicacy, with a very affordable lunchtime formula of €25 for starter, main and dessert. A winner.